At a little corner of the Urban Redevelopment Authority Centre, which has been sitting empty for months ever since its previous cafe tenant moved out, is a collaboration between two local names. Publisher Epigram, in a partnership with coffee chain Huggs Coffee, has set up the country’s first bookstore selling only Singapore books.
Essentially, that means titles written about Singapore or by Singaporean authors. Epigram’s books won’t the only ones on display either — other Singapore publishers such as Math Paper Press will have their moment in the spotlight too, alongside URA books and literature.
The first thing you’ll notice when you near the glass doors is the 11m-long bookshelf that stocks titles to the ceiling and spans the length of the cafe. With more than 400 books featured at any one time, the range here offers everything from adult fiction and poetry collections to graphic novels and non-fiction tomes.
Some of the titles we spotted include drawings of neighborhoods around Singapore by artists from Urban Sketchers, books about Singapore through the years, Simon Vincent’s The Naysayer’s Book Club, Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians, and Epigram’s latest series Rational Conversations with prominent local names such as Alfian Sa’at, Kirsten Han, Shiao-yin Kuik, and Bilahari Kausikan.
If you need more than a couple minutes to browse through the selection, have a bite to eat from the menu of coffees, sandwiches, wraps, pastries, pastas, and cakes by Huggs Coffee.
According to Epigram, the coffee bookshop will allocate one table to an author or artist during opening hours, so they can use the space to work, get inspiration, or interact with customers. Those who hang out at cafe this month may chance upon the likes of Felix Cheong, Ng Yi-Sheng, and Balli Kaur Jaswal at one of the tables — perhaps all the more reason to pop by.
Huggs-Epigram Coffee Bookshop is at #01-01 URA Centre, 45 Maxwell Rd.
Mon-Fri: coffee 7am-5pm, books 10am-7pm; Sat: coffee 8am-noon, books 10am-2pm.
MRT: Tanjong Pagar/Chinatown